Ohio is one of 44 states with an anti-hazing law. Individuals may be held criminally or civilly liable. The Ohio Revised Code, Section 2903.31, prohibits any person from recklessly participating in the hazing of another, and provides that violation of the statute is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Hazing is defined as doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person. State law also provides that individuals subjected to hazing may pursue a lawsuit for injury, damages, mental and/or physical pain and suffering that result from the hazing. See Ohio Revised Code Section 2307.44.
The College will not tolerate hazing on the part of any individual, organization, group or team. Hazing, for purposes of College policy, is defined as any action or situation, regardless of intention, whether on or off Kenyon premises, that results in or has the potential of resulting in physical, mental or emotional harm; discomfort; embarrassment; harassment; or distress to a group’s members or prospective members.
Furthermore, being a member or prospective member of any student organization, group, sports team or activity does not provide for, allow or tolerate hazing in any form. It is not a defense to a hazing charge that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity. Forms of hazing include, but are not limited to: personal servitude; tests of physical endurance; kidnapping, transporting or stranding anyone; private or public skits; loss of personal dignity or self-worth; activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect; lowering of one’s personal standards; exposure to the elements without appropriate protection; sleep deprivation and creation of excessive fatigue; consumption of a food, liquid, alcohol, drug or other substance; social isolation; expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession; restrictions on personal hygiene; calisthenics; academic dishonesty; threats or implied threats; destroying or removing public or private property; behaviors which emphasize a power imbalance; wearing of any public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; activities which are not consistent with personal growth and academic achievement; and violations of federal, state or local laws. The College will treat the hazing action of even one member of a group as constituting hazing by the group.
Individuals or groups believed to be in violation of this policy will be subject to Kenyon disciplinary action. An individual commits an offense if the person: engages in hazing; solicits, encourages, directs, aids or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing; recklessly permits hazing to occur; or has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred and knowingly fails to report that knowledge through the Report of Concern (found on the Office of Student Engagement website) or an appropriate official of the institution. Individuals who are found to be responsible for hazing face sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal from the College. An organization commits an offense if the organization condones or encourages hazing or if an officer or any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing. Groups or organizations found to be responsible for violations of this policy face sanctions up to and including suspension, dismissal or removal of their recognition by Kenyon. Individual members of a group are subject to sanctions up to and including suspension or dismissal from the College for allowing such violations to occur.
A large barrier to the prevention of hazing is both the failure to report hazing activities and the lack of knowledge of how to report hazing. Do not assume that others will report matters. Kenyon College encourages anyone affiliated with the College to report possible acts of hazing through the Report of Concern. The Report of Concern form can be found on the Office of Student Engagement website and will be submitted for further investigation. In order to respond appropriately and seek additional information when necessary, the form is not anonymous. However, the identity of the individual(s) submitting the Report of Concern will be protected. All reports will be investigated promptly.